Local woodworker turns wood from ‘Shawshank Tree’ into collector’s items

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It’s been almost a quarter of a century since a central Ohio oak tree was made famous by the movie “The Shawshank Redemption.”

The roughly 200-year-old white oak near Mansfield was knocked down by winds a few years ago but now its legacy lives on. 

“I think I watched it 45 times within a two-month period,” Brian Mcneal said. In a partnership with the tree’s owner, the woodcarver is sanding, carving and engraving the Shawshank tree into keepsakes.

“I had no idea that we were going to get the attention, as many people interested in this project,” Mcneal said.   

“The Shawshank Redemption” is a 1994 movie about the friendship between two men in prison, one of whom has been wrongly imprisoned. It was filmed mostly in the Mansfield area. The ending of the film includes several shots of a large oak tree key to the climax of the story.  

At his Delaware woodshop, Mcneal’s keepsakes vary from plaques and tables, to keychains and rock hammers. While the requests vary according to Mcneal, many carry the same message from the movie, “Get busy living or get busy dying,” Mcneal said.  

It is a message rooted in redemption, a simple choice of how you want to live your life. For Mcneal, it whittles down to one thing.

“The main message that I took away is no matter what life throws at you, there is always hope,” Mcneal said.  

Hope for a better future, symbolized in a tree that may have fallen years ago, but still lives on in an immortal message. According to Mcneal, they’ve seen a recent uptick in business from- Hulu TV’s “Castle Rock” which picks up after “The Shawshank Redemption.”  

Most of the items range from $40 dollars to up to $400 depending on the request.  The items come with a certificate of authenticity and according to Mcneal have been DNA tested, you can find out more at http://www.naturalwoodmirrors.com/.
 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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